By Joe Odaby
Juba — August 23, 2013 (SSN) … The South Sudan Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF) has allocated US$33 million for life-saving assistance until the end of the year to people displaced by violence, returnees, refugees and vulnerable host communities. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has said.
The money, according to a UNOCHA press statement will be channeled to providing clean water and sanitation, education, livelihoods support, healthcare, household items, nutrition, mine clearance and protection for the citizens of South Sudan..
“The money will help people in South Sudan who have been worst affected by violence, disease and displacement. Our goal is to make sure aid gets to those who need it most and as quickly as possible,” said Toby Lanzer, the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan.
The CHF is a tool that provides funding for the most urgent priorities for humanitarian action, and ensures that funds are available for rapid response to emergencies. The fund is managed by the Humanitarian Coordinator, with support from an advisory board of donors and UN and NGO representatives.
To date this year, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom have all provided generously to the fund, Lanzer said. With the new allocation of $33 million, the CHF will have channeled around $90 million to NGOs and UN agencies in 2013.
Aid agencies are now reporting that some sixty thousand (60,000) returnees displaced from Abyei region by the May 2011 Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) invasion have already returned home ahead of the much anticipated referendum exercise scheduled for October this year.
An Abyei return tracking report for June and July this year showed that about 16,000 people have been verified as having returned to Abyei since June 2012. While the verification process did not capture returns in and around Agok in the south of the Abyei area, food partners monthly registration records reportedly suggest that another between 5,000 and 8,000 people have returned and settled in Agok, an areas known to many as Annet.
“Overall, partners estimate that up to 60,000 of the over 100,000 people displaced from Abyei in May 2011 have returned” the United Nation’s weekly bulletin reported. According to the verification report, there are around 3,500 people living in Abyei town.
Aid organizations are said to be responding to the needs of those who have returned to their homes, including by providing communities with seeds, tools and non-food items to “strengthen their resilience”.
Although a number of schools in Abyei town have been rehabilitated, school enrollment, education partners say is much lower than anticipated.
Since 2003, over 2.3 million Darfuris have fled their homes, including nearly 300,000 as refugees in Chad. Thousands of children born in these camps have never known another home.
And the cycle of violence continues. In the first four months of 2013, over five times as many people had been displaced than in all of 2012. In one week alone in April 2013, some 50,000 Darfuris fled into southeastern Chad following fresh ethnic conflict. The refugees reported entire villages being burned and razed with many villagers killed.
In South Kordofan and Blue Nile, indiscriminate aerial bombardments are Sudan’s devastating signature tactic. Bombs destroy residential areas, schools and markets, health clinics and farm fields.
Civilians have no warning of these attacks and flee for protection to caves in nearby mountains or to the bush. Children go without school, and villages are emptied of their people. The air strikes, combined with scorched-earth attacks and deliberate obstruction of humanitarian aid, have led to chronic hunger and conditions conducive to famine.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has stated the human rights violations by Sudan rise to the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Sudan’s campaigns of armed conflict and deliberate denial of humanitarian aid combined with the prevention of South Sudanese oil exports continue to devastate entire communities and regions.